I recently read an article about lies we tell ourselves, which lead me in to the many other articles we’ve written about neuromarketing and behavioral economics.
One of the lies is that we like to think that we are rational. That we are weighing the facts, do an analysis of potential consequences and make good decisions based on evidence we collect.
Again and again, behavioral economics shows that this isn’t true. We aren’t close to as rational as we would like to think.
Our “system 1” as Kahneman describes it, or our autopilot, don’t take a great amount of time. Actually, we don’t have the time to really think things through in our everyday life.
Therefore, we take mental shortcuts called cognitive biases.
For example, avaliability bias. If people would really understand their chances of winning the lottery, they wouldn’t buy a lottery ticket. Yet people do.
All lottieres use the avaliability bias, and people’s desperation and hope. This is the tendency to judge probabilities on the basis of how easily examples come to mind.
Since they often promote the people winning jackpot, or other high figures, people are continually hearing about those who’ve made this huge winnings. And rarely about the ones who haven’t.
We are also good at remembering successes and to forget about failures. This is called survivorship bias and can often lead to false conclusions. Sometimes we exclude poor results just to make things look better.
The uncomfortable truth is that we don’t base our decisions on facts and of course we tend to overlook these small flaws we have and believe that only others do it. This is calles self-serving bias.
Another example of this is a student who attributes earning a good grade on an exam to their own intelligence and preparation but attributes earning a poor grade to the teachers’ poor teaching ability or unfair questions on the test.
We can’t always explain what we do and why we do it, even if we would like to and think we do. Our System 1 don’t like to be interrupted.
We aren’t rational creatures who can feel, we are emotional creatures who can think and we have neuronal patways from our guts that go way back into our evolutionary history.